Monday, 15 August 2011

The success of Nottingham's Caribbean Carnival 2011

On Sunday 14th August 2011, Nottingham's Caribbean Carnival went ahead and was more than successful. After the way I prepared and got ready for the day, I couldn't have asked God to make it anything more than it was.

My day started early in the morning, having breakfast, getting ready in my new custom, hand made uniform, packing my bag and checking my camera kit. I left home at 12:45pm and made my way to Nottingham Castle with my sister who played as my Assistant (Sistasant LOL!).

We arrived at the Castle Gate quite early, but to my surprise there was no sign of a carnival, no music to get people started, no colourfully, outrageously dressed people or anything. After all that I had done to be apart of the carnival, I started to feel a bit disappointed but thought I ought to try and call the organisers in case plans had changed and I wasnt aware. That didn't work so after seeing two lady birds accompanied by an adult, I asked them where the carnival was starting. I also came across a very polite and helpful group of Police men who radioed their Sergent and told me exactly where to go. Good job because we (including the Police officers) would have been lost.

Castle Gate
 As soon as I found the carnival part takers, floats, stewards etc, I got my camera/ husband ready and put it/him around my neck. The task I had been given by BBC's Web Producer was stuck in my head and my ultimate goal was to get exactly what he was asking for, but go beyond his requirements. That's how I work - I supersede. My other task was to take photos and provide them on a disc for Tuntum Housing Association - the organisers of the carnival. The only reason the BBC's task was stuck in my head was because I had a serious and very tight deadline to stick to.

All of the parade appearances were in line, putting on their costumes, doing their make up and that's when my flash started going off. The BBC's Web Producer asked me for "pictures telling the story of the carnival... showing both colour of the parade and the carnival in action." With me also being an author of a soon to be published book and knowing how to illustrate through words, I began illustrating the story through my photography.
Make up artists at work
Flashes came one after the other because to me everything was beautiful, all the colours were fabulous, all the children were cute, all costumes different in their own way and because of that, my flash kept going. I wanted to make the young costume dancers feel confident and comfortable as well as make the more mature costume dancers convinced that they were more beautiful than I hope they already felt.

Although I lived in London for the majority of my life and attended many of the Notting Hill Carnival's (I'm not a traitor); it was so nice to see such a diverse mix of race, ethnicity's, ages, abilities and all others involved here too. Carnival is about enjoyment, dance, music, loving vibes and happiness, togetherness and that's exactly what I saw and captured - team work and co-operation.

As the parade got started at 2:05pm, me and my Sistasant got walking, taking photos, admiring, enjoying the music with our Caribbean selves and really having a good time. I didn't feel like I was working or even walking miles, "Bringing beauty to the world" through my photography was more important to me.

Everything was going well, I heard so much Soca songs I hadn't heard in years. The only thing stopping me from dancing was the fact that I wasn't in my bedroom and I had my camera around my neck. Nothing stopped me from singing along and putting a little rhythmed bop in my step.

It was so great to see people having fun after all that had been going on in England over the past week and that alone made me proud of Nottingham. I haven't lived in Nottingham for that long, used to visit during my six week holidays but I felt apart of and proud of their behaviour.

As we got further and approached Victoria Centre, we spotted my family. We go to church every Sunday and it was a shame that I missed it but the fact that God provided such a great opportunity for me meant I wasn't slacking and made me want to be there extra early on August Sunday 21st to give Him even more praise and thanks for my blessings.

My family, but especially my mum was so pleased and happy to see me doing my thing, in my element and living out my dream. I took a few photos of them but I was still working so I kept moving and got back to capturing shots towards my story board for the BBC.

My mum and younger sister so happy at Carnival
 The walk was estimated to take 3 hours but it surprisingly took less than that so all the floats stopped in their tracks and continued the party on the spot for about 30 minutes. That allowed me and my second sister to go back down the line and take some more photos. She was so intrigued by how my camera works that she wanted to take s few shots. I let her and she was actually over the moon. I must admit she did a good job.
Independent Street - Soca Animal float
When we got going again we were seconds away from our final destination (The Forest Recreation Ground) it was time for me to take advantage of my Access All Areas VIP pass and Photographer title and get up close and right in front of the action. (Perfect shots were guaranteed.)

All the parade participants displayed their costumes on stage and did routines to a selection of music.

Monserrat United Masquerade Dancers:-


Tricky footwork

Tuntum Hosuing Association:-
5 beautiful young ladies


Young teens

Polynesian Paradise Queen

Young children in the groove

Polynesian bird

Nottingham city Arts

Spritzer Dance company:-
Caribbean Sunset

Sand Beach Water and Sun
Leicester Caribbean Club:-
Greek King - Serious dance face

Mythology and culture

Supernatural being
South Connection:-
Pure and feeling free

Geisha girl
London got the Olympics

Skys the limit

Celebrating London Olympics 2012

Bright and cheerful

A greener London. Recycle
 Independent Street:-
2 cute Lady birds

Shy little lion

Dancing Flamingo

Soca animals

Lady bird with attitude

Happy young children

Sacred animals
Derby West Indian Centre:-
Bold colours and shapes representing the West Indies

Youth of the future

Excuberant colours of Africa
UK Trini and Friends - Steel Pans Band:-
Empty oil pan was established in 1930

Dance with pan around your neck
Tibute to Steel pans
I wasn't able to get the last 4 troopes QMX, HGYC Zodiac All Stars, Hya Level or Rampage while they were on stage because time was ticking and I had to capture other parts of the carnival and the performers stage in particular. Regardless of that here are a few photos from the parade.



Mother and Daughter

Derby Troope parading

Princess Peacock

Butterfly girl

Lady birds

Little drummer boy

Little drmmer boy 2

As I left the dancers stage, I walked around to take a few shots of all the other activities (fair ground, food etc) and the people from the community enjoying the Nottingham Caribbean Carnival.

Group of well behaved young men - One of them has a big secret

Large fun slide

Massive ride - I could hear the screams

Tradional BBQing of Jerk chicken

Three young beauties enjoying the carnival
Once I finished my little tour of the Forest, I made my way to the main stage and with the power of my VIP Access All Areas pass, I got back stage and got to meet, greet and take marvellous photos of the national and international superstars.

Ridley Gospel EM singers and band (Sang He Reigns - Awesome God)

As a host we had the funny man Mr Cee, but of course he's funny, he's a comedian.

Stylo G performed along side his friend/ hype man (performed My Yout, Swagga Dem and Call me a Yardie)
My Yout made him big

Stylo G doesnt promote drugs
Digga and 2Tone (performed Roots, Crepes and Role play for the ladies)
Jah Digga


Positive and energetic young men of Nottingham - future superstars
Nikisha (sang Hellelujah, Man down by Rihanna and One dance)
Nikisha whining

Singing Hallelujah to give thanks to God

Nikisha and her sister Stacie Ann

Stacie Ann singing

Surprise guest Tony Matterhorn (performed his tempting Dancehall song Dutty wine and Mi back)

"Do the Dutty Wine!"

Just passing through
Macka B the Inspirational Speaker performed (What me eat, Black Man and Empress Divine)
He doesnt promote bleaching, be proud of your skin colour, love black skin.

Healthy Vegan, doesnt eat fish or any meat and birds with feathers.

He instructs men to be serious fathers, take part in daily responsibilities
e.g. cook and clean, change nappies and be a role model,

Respect women, they are the queen of the island so must have dignity and shine as women!
The young boy that had a secret he was dying to share it with Nottingham is called AJ. Prior to seeing him on stage, I took a picture of him and his friends and vowed to put it on my blog (see up the page) AJ entered himself into the adult singing competition but ended up being the only adult who entered. This put him on the spot with all eyes on him. He was made to sing Lionell Richie Hello, Usher U got it bad which was displayed his voice then showed everyone how versatile he was by beat boxing. AJ was then awarded with the chance/ opportunity to go on tour with comedian Mr Cee for the LOL show and go from Nottingham to London and several other great cities. This prize ended up being bigger than £50.
It was meant to be

Before lifting up his shirt
Dawn Penn the Empress of Reggae (performed Never hustle the music and her famous No, no, no)
"No, no, no - you dont love me and I know now"

Music ambassador

Touring the world
Ken Boothe (performed Crying over you)
Little Skanker

"Crying over you... I really, really dont want to cry"

The 2011 Caribbean Carnival ended at 8:30pm and thanks the great work of the Nottinghamshire Police force, the carnival goers, entertainers and everyone in general were happy and safe.
PC Keep Me Safe
Last but not least, I'd like to kindly thank Tuntum Housing Association - the organisers of the Nottingham Caribbean Carnival @Notts_Carnival and BBC for giving me the opportunity to take photos for them and allow my work to be wide spread.

After editing my shots until 5am on Monday 15th, they are now available on and Facebook

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed this blog.



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